The oxidative burst generated by the host immune system can restrict intracellular parasite entry and growth. While this burst leads to the induction of antioxidative enzymes, the molecular mechanisms and the consequences of this counter-response on the life of intracellular human parasites are largely unknown. The transcription factor NF-E2-related factor (NRF2) could be a key mediator of antioxidant signaling during infection due to the entry of parasites. Here, we showed that NRF2 was strongly upregulated in infection with the human Leishmania protozoan parasites, its activation was dependent on a NADPH oxidase 2 (NOX2) and SRC family of protein tyrosine kinases (SFKs) signaling pathway and it reprogrammed host cell metabolism. In inflammatory leishmaniasis caused by a viral endosymbiont inducing TNF-α in chronic leishmaniasis, NRF2 activation promoted parasite persistence but limited TNF-α production and tissue destruction. These data provided evidence of the dual role of NRF2 in protecting both the invading pathogen from reactive oxygen species and the host from an excess of the TNF-α destructive pro-inflammatory cytokine.