Sickle cell disease (SCD) is a monogenetic disease that results in the formation of hemoglobin S. Due to more rapid oxidation of hemoglobin S due to intracellular heme and adventitious iron in SCD, it has been thought that an inherent property of SCD red cells would be an imbalance in antioxidant defenses and oxidant production. Less deformable and fragile RBC in SCD results in intravascular hemolysis and release of free hemoglobin (PFHb) in the plasma, which might be expected to produce oxidative stress in the plasma. Thus, we aimed to characterize intracellular and vascular oxidative stress in whole blood and plasma samples from adult SCD patients and controls recruited into a large study of SCD at Children's Hospital of Los Angeles. We evaluated the cellular content of metHb and several components of the antioxidant system in RBC as well as oxidation of GSH and Prx-2 oxidation in RBC after challenge with hydroperoxides. Plasma markers included PFHb, low molecular weight protein bound heme (freed heme), hemopexin, isoprostanes, and protein carbonyls. While GSH was slightly lower in SCD RBC, protein carbonyls, NADH, NAD+ and total NADP+ + NADPH were not different. Furthermore, GSH or Prx-2 oxidation was not different after oxidative challenge in SCD vs. Control. Elevated freed heme and PFHb had a significant negative, non-linear association with hemopexin. There appeared to be a threshold effect for hemopexin (200 μg/ml), under which the freed heme rose acutely. Plasma F2-isoprostanes were not significantly elevated in SCD. Despite significant release of Hb and elevation of freed heme in SCD when hemopexin was apparently saturated, there was no clear indication of uncompensated vascular oxidative stress. This somewhat surprising result, suggests that oxidative stress is well compensated in RBCs and plasma during a period of relative health.